James Ward exits Australian Open with head held high

James Ward

James Ward - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Camden’s James Ward left the Australian Open with his head held high, despite exiting in the first round after losing to the Spaniard Fernando Verdasco.

The British No2, from Eversholt Street near Euston station, had qualified for a Grand Slam through his world ranking for the first time – and he won the first set 6-2 against the world No33 Verdasco.

In the end, Ward lost 2-6, 6-0, 7-6, 6-3, but he feels he proved that he belongs at this level at the big tournaments.

“It was a pretty good level and he said that to me afterwards,” said Ward. “He produced at the big moments, but he’s going away thinking that if he plays me again this year it won’t be easy for him.

“I’m working hard and I’m stronger and faster than I’ve ever been.

“My grandmother passed away last week. I saw her over Christmas and it’s been tough as we are a close family. I’m going home for the funeral next week, at the moment that is the priority.

“I don’t know what I will do for the next couple of weeks but then I plan to play in Rotterdam and Dubai before the Davis Cup [match against USA in March].”